DARPA provides $12.2 million to fund research on DNA-based mAbs treatments

$12.2 million funds research for DNA-based mAbs treatments of pathogens
$12.2 million funds research for DNA-based mAbs treatments of pathogens
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is providing $12.2 million to support a collaborative study on new treatments made possible through DNA-based monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) research.

The recipients involved in the study include the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Inovio Pharmaceuticals and MedImmune. Their research has three concentrations: influenza virus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

“In previous preclinical studies our DNA-based mAbs demonstrated robust virus neutralization and protected treated animals challenged with a lethal virus,” Inovio President and CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim said. “We look forward to working with our globally recognized collaborators to advance this potentially paradigm shifting technology."

mAbs are one of the most important treatments for a variety of diseases. The antibodies are effective but costly – they require laboratories and multiple treatments to outlast their limited potency. Researchers hope that DNA-based mAbs will provide the same positive results for patients while cutting back on cost and inconvenience.

DNA-based mAbs are simply designed, increasing reliability and decreasing costs of manufacturing and repeated dosages. They may also lead to new resources for treatments, including pathogens that thus far have been difficult to treat. Current studies have shown positive results – just one administration of DNA-based mAbs has targeted HIV and stimulated an immune response in mice.

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